BY far, the most visited posts on this blog over the last two years have been those on cottage food laws. As someone who ran markets in a city/state with byzantine rules and a total lack of clarity for producers, I was gratified when a cottage producer took it upon herself to push for such a law in Louisiana, following recent adoption of one in neighboring Mississippi. That law had been championed by a task force headed ( I believe) by a researcher from Harvard.
Markets can help this process even when not leading it by maintaining and sharing their internal process for inspections, permits and on-site pricing/labeling rules with those advocates working to begin or expand their cottage food laws.
In addition, markets can collect qualitative data through Marker Surveys (allowing them to write a quote on the sheet) from shoppers about how they feel about the short chain system that relies on the deep and regular relationship they have in their markets and then to share those stories with those advocates.
In addition, I’d be happy to share the template of the mystery chef project that I employed at my markets which encouraged selected market community members to purchase products already at market and gave a written assessment on the taste, display and labeling of that product. That assessment was sent via postcard to the vendor via mail and a copy was put into their file. The most common result was a positive assessment and so we also encouraged them to display the postcard at their table if they wished. Send me an email to dar wolnik at gmail if you want me to send you that template-that is if I can find it. Additionally, the other piece of that system was the mystery shopper surveys that we also created; one of the templates is available on the http://www.marketumbrella.org site on their Marketshare page. All it requires is the creation of a free log in and password to see all of the resources they offer on their page.
Here are the results from my posts about cottage food laws; and the link below leads to a very good framework for those states (or cities or counties) to plan or expand their own systems: Securing or Expanding Your State Cottage Food Law – Real Food – MOTHER EARTH NEWS